The proof is in the pudding (video).
One of the biggest challenges in social justice advocacy is demonstrating success. When the whole goal is to prevent people from having negative experiences, it’s hard to prove that strategies are actually working, because there isn’t physical evidence. The desired result is “no negative experiences,” but some might see this as merely “nothing.”
Take the “It Gets Better” project. Tens of thousands of videos have been made since the anti-bullying campaign launched a year ago. Surely one of IGB’s undeniable successes is the way it has rallied many people in the public sphere to take pro-LGBT stances, from politicians to sports teams. But does the campaign actually make a difference for the young people it targets? Some have critiqued it as “self-congratulatory back-patting,” suggested it’s “useless,” or expressed concern that it includes “no path to change.” Even the Disappointing Gay Best Friend was unimpressed. While we can track suicide attempts, mental health trends, and rates of bullying, it would arguably be difficult to ever directly connect IGB to the positive results it might be fostering.
But there’s one exception: young people saying thank-you. Box Turtle Bulletin posted this video today from a teenager named Dylan: